King John and the Magna Charta: Resources

As you all know, February is my least favourite time of home school, on account of a severe lack of energy.  When I saw King John was coming up on the horizon, hibernation for its duration seemed like the only sensible solution.  Of course humans don’t, as a rule, tend towards hibernation, and I figured it might be taken as a sign of laziness on my behalf, so I resisted the urge and determined to make something of this yawn inducing subject.

I’m so pleased I made the effort!  We have just had one of the best two weeks of our home school ever!!  And we were learning about King John and the Magna Charta!  I did at one point question whether some sort of mania had gripped us all, but on reflection I think we had good resources, lots of ideas to try out with a mother who was certain of one thing – she was not, under any circumstances, going to do any school planning.  Too tired.  So she didn’t.

As it turned out, my children didn’t need planning.  I shared my ideas, which (for whatever weird reason) appealed to their sense of adventure and off they went, planning everything for me.  I felt a bit redundant to be honest, but I went with the flow, lacking the impetus to do much else.  I found, to my delight, the treasure to be found when children are engaged, fairly independent and completely in the moment.  I haven’t laughed so much for what seems like too long.  My children crack me up, and without knowing it, completely healed me of my February blues.  The fun that can be had with five children, a king’s crown and a hapless mother, knows no bounds!

It all started sensibly, as most studies do with me reading the books out loud.  I’m including a brief review of one of the books we worked through tomorrow because I think it is such a fabulous resource.  Here are the books we looked through:

I will do a brief review on this book tomorrow.  I really worth while read
I will do a brief review on this book tomorrow. A really worth while read
This was the read aloud, and was well written and kept our attention, with short chapter and much information.  I was expecting it to be fiction, but it is non fiction.  Still worth the read
This was the read aloud, and was well written and kept our attention, with short chapters and much information. I was expecting it to be fiction, but it is non fiction. Still worth the read
This has been my spine text and is usefully simple!
This has been my spine text and is usefully simple!
Brief synopsis on the kings during this time, which much extra historical information.  I bought the whole set from a charity shop for four pounds!
Brief synopsis on the kings during this time, with much extra historical information. I bought the whole set from a charity shop for four pounds!
This DVD was usefull to pull together all we had learnt so far of English royalty spanning from King William the Conqueror to King John.  It was a good conclusion to our studies of this era
This DVD was useful to pull together all we had learnt so far of English royalty spanning from King William the Conqueror to King John. It was a good conclusion to our studies of this era

My ideas for a King John study included a leadership study on him; a law study on the Magna Charta; and a comparison study between autocratic ruling (John’s time) and democratic ruling (nowadays) as well as a brief look at the Model Parliament called by Edward I.  Next year we will be learning about parliament so this would foreshadow that study.  I also wanted the children to write their own Magna Charta, coming up with one solely for the purpose of the angelicscalliwag clan.

I’ll be sharing next week about the surprising fun we had with this traditionally rather serious subject.

20 comments

  1. Looking forward to hearing about the fun that was had, and the angelicscalliwag clan Magna Charta- so happy to hear you’ve been having fun and lots of laughter! (I genuinely wish I could properly hibernate every. single. winter 🙂

  2. So when you get forward about 200 years there’s a great podcast on the English Revolution, I just finished listening to. Your comments on the Magna Carta reminded me of this because during the entire thing the Magna Carta isn’t brought up once (at least in the podcast) and I kept wondering how it should have related to the whole big debacle.

  3. I know what you mean about February… so happy spring is practically here!
    It sounds like your no-plan approach is working wonderfully, I’m so pleased. Your children sound very entertaining.

    I remember when we learned about the Magna Carta, my two were producing their own versions for months afterwards. J(7 then) kept bringing me pieces of paper to sign, with secret words in invisible ink. I’m not sure he quite got the point!

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